This is a great time to be involved in education. The technology is amazing, allowing teachers to do things I could only dream of when I started my career. And furthermore, it's changing all the time.
Not all of it is exciting (disruptive?) in a good way, of course. Or let's say that some of it is, or is going to be, challenging.
To take a couple of obvious issues, what about AI, and what about GDPR?
Artificial Intelligence: is it really going to replace teachers at some point? I am optimistic about this. I have no doubt that AI is on the verge of becoming good enough in many respects to replace a human being. But I don't think it will because "many respects" leaves out possibly some of the most important "respects". Just to take one example, from my own experience, when a very shy and under-confident girl joined the school I was teaching her in at the time, I ascertained that she liked playing the guitar, so I introduced her personally to the teacher who ran a guitar club. I did other things as well, such that by the end of her first term she had changed so much in terms of her confidence in and enjoyment of the school that her parents made a special effort to come to the school to thank me.
I'm not saying this in a boastful way, but just to pose the question: could a robot or bot or AI have achieved the same thing? And if a bot can simulate empathy, is that as good as actually having empathy?
As for the General Data Protection Regulations, the changes there are really going to focus people's minds. In a sense, the GDPR is no different from the Data Protection Act that it replaces, but it is farther reaching, and the potential fines for non-compliance are eye-watering.
Then there the exciting possibilities afforded by virtual reality, augmented reality and, in combination, mixed reality.
If you are able to get to the Bett show, which takes place from 24th to 27th January 2018 you'll be able to wander around and attend talks that will enable you to get a feel for what lies ahead. But whether you can or can't go there, I'm sure you'll enjoy a resource I've compiled which looks at the sort of issues I've mentioned, and many more.
I asked over 40 Bett exhibitors for their views, in a nutshell, on these two questions:
- What do you think will be the main things we'll be seeing in d tech in 2018
- What do you think will be the main ed tech challenges in 2018?
The response has been tremendous, and the resultant study features the views of the following organisations:
- Additio App
- Digital Schoolhouse
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Frog Education
- Genee World
- Get My Grades
- Lego Education
- Music House For Children
- NEO LMS
- Octagon Studio
- ONVU Learning
- RM Education
- Robots In Schools (Ed Bot)
- Smart Start Minds
- Spongy Elephant
- The Wonder Why Society
- The Young People Index
- Think IT
- UB Tech
The resource is completely free. I hope you enjoy reading it, and discussing the content with colleagues and pupils -- and senior leaders insofar as some of the views of what's on the horizon have implications for the strategic planning of your school's education technology.
Here it is: Predictions For Education Technology In 2018. Enjoy.